Aveline folded her arms over her chest and leaned back against the wall, more so that it could prop her up than needing it to relax against. Of the two of them, she knew she's stronger, sturdier, and far more level-headed. She'd said no so many times, and all her reasons are good ones, but she was wavering. Isabela was damned convincing, and not just because she was so often unclothed and doing very interesting things with her hands when she asked for favors.
It was like a game for Isabela; the pirate taunted and teased, trying to see how far she could be pushed. To Aveline's great disappointment, she'd started to admit (only to herself) that Isabela was winning, and that just couldn't happen. If Isabela wanted to push her boundaries then Aveline knew she needed to set new ones. However, there was only one way to beat Isabela at her own game.
Tonight, Aveline is determined to hold her ground. She picked this seat at the table so she could keep her back to the wall, looking normal and relaxed no matter what. Aveline's will was strong, but until Isabela, she hadn't realized how easy it was for certain people to get under her skin. Isabela was the best and the worst of them, and she not only knew it, she used it to her advantage. If she didn't pay close attention she was agreeing to things before she even realized what the other woman was talking about. After all, she certainly hadn't planned on sleeping with Isabela, ever…
Yet here they were.
Isabela, finding every excuse to touch her, to tease her, to give her the sort of looks that Aveline would've much preferred stay in the bedroom. If she hadn't known better, Aveline would've assumed that was the whole point of her little game, to make sure everyone knew about them. Aveline, another conquered soul in Isabela's wake. She knew better, in fact it was the one thing she was almost completely positive she could hold over the other woman. Isabela had conquered her, sure, to herself she could admit as much. But Aveline wasn't the only one that had been conquered.
The pirate was hers, unreservedly.
Now, it was only a matter of Isabela accepting it as fact. Pushing Aveline wouldn't work, they'd learned that after she'd ran off with that damned book and come back anyway. And trying to keep her at bay by flirting with anything that moved each night at the Hanged Man had also proved pointless. Aveline hadn't risen to the bait, and now Isabela had switched tactics once more. This time she'd brought their friends into it, shamelessly goading Aveline into giving them away to their friends. This was what Aveline needs protection against. This was why she's got her back to the wall for support, and her hands over her chest, elbows barely grazing the table.
Isabela, after several drinks, had scooted along the bench on their side of the table until she was pressed against Aveline, one hand trying to wrap over her shoulders so she could lean even closer. When Aveline's head leaned against the wall, leaving no room behind her, Isabela's hand had fallen to her lap instead. She'd expected that tactic and yet even as it happened and she folded her arms over her chest to hide it, she felt her cheeks reddening.
She'd never had the stomach (or the need for one) for public affection, even in it's smallest forms. Isabela, on the other hand, would speak at length about her public experience if one gave her the chance. Knowing the pirate's experience was one thing, she could look passed past lovers, becoming one of those stories was another matter.
Someone on the other side of her said her name, just as Isabela's fingers walked down the laces of her trousers, tugging on the strings as they went. Aveline swallowed before looking to her side, to find Varric staring at her expectantly.
"What do you think, Red?" he said.
Mouth hanging open as she searched for an inkling of what he had asked, Isabela let out a breathy chuckle against neck.
"Yes, Aveline," Isabela teased, "doesn't Varric's new story idea sound interesting?"
"Hm? Oh?" Aveline's words stumbled over her tongue.
"I helped him come up with it you know."
Isabela's fingers, nimble as they were, had slipped into Aveline's trousers and were it not for the arms she'd crossed over her chest, the woman would be half in her lap. Looking around the table at her friends, it seemed not a one of them cared about whatever was keeping the two of them so close, and only Varric was paying much attention to Aveline's reactions, and he was only doing so while he waited for her to answer his question.
Voice a little steadier with Varric in view, Aveline said, "If Isabela's involved, I doubt…"
"Oh!" Varric interrupted her with a wave of his mug before he took a sip from it. "If you're worried about Rivaini's influence, don't be! She gave me the idea, but the story will be all mine."
"And you're asking-" she gasped, Isabela blowing softly near her ear as her hand slid between Aveline's thighs. She parted her legs instinctively and her face felt suddenly warm.
Varric's grinned, "Last time I came up with a story about a guardswoman you seemed very interested. I thought you might like this one even better."
"Ah," she breathed but it was not for Varric's benefit.
"Do you like it," Isabela asked. "I told him I thought you would."
Aveline pressed her lips together and nodded, managing a wordless, "Mmhmm."
"Great! I already have the perfect title."
"Tell her the title, Varric."
Varric leaned forward, and Aveline closed her eyes for a brief moment. She couldn't move now, not without giving away the fact that her pants were half done, and Isabela's hand had been in them. Then they'd have no choice, their friends would know there was something going on between them. How long it had been happening was news certain to follow. Now, She could only pray that anything was either hidden by her arms or blocked by Isabela's body.
If he noticed anything strange, Varric gave nothing away. His eyes sparkled and his teeth shone as he grinned. "Rivaini helped with the title too -- I threw away quite a few before settling on this one."
Aveline merely stared at him, trying to school her expression into something impassive instead of interested. Fearing if she tried for anything other than stoic, she'd give herself away, letting Isabela win.
"Lady Law and the Stormy Seas," Varric announced with some pride.
If she'd been drinking, Aveline would've spit it all over the table. As it was, Isabela's deft work was helpful in the moment, fingers flicking up and drawing another gasp from Aveline just as she started to remark.
"I think she likes it," Isabela crooned.
Varric brandished his mug of ale and waved it towards Isabela. "I knew it! I think it'll be another series, in fact. If people loved Swords and Shields, just imagine what a sense of the forbidden will do! Just look at Hawke... everyone loves an outlaw."
They all turned to glance at Hawke, Merrill in his lap, Norah hanging over his shoulder and Anders watching with those big brown eyes of his wide. Smitten with Hawke, the lot of them. At least Sebastian and Fenris seemed to have some sense, though with a few drinks in them, they were sitting almost as close as Aveline and Isabela. Nothing secret there... just moving with extreme care.
"Some of us more than others," Isabela responded with a grin as she turned back to Aveline. Her fingers never stopped moving, though they slowed maddeningly when her attention had turned away.
"Not everyone," Aveline managed through gritted teeth, her breath hard to come by as Isabela's hand moved swiftly once more.
Aveline continued to stare between she and Varric but after having his moment of revelation, the dwarf turned around and made a comment she couldn't hear to Hawke which drew out a round of cheers from Garrett and his admirers. Isabela's fingers didn't stop moving though and it was only a matter of seconds before Aveline's attention returned to her. She stared at the pirate, lust in her eyes evident, and Isabela merely grinned back.
"Ready to tell them?" Isabela asked sweetly. Her words were soft, warm breath's against Aveline's ear, whose jaw tensed as she willed herself to keep still as Isabela spoke. "From what he told me he has planned, Varric's story sounds like it might have certain implications. Could be very revealing and people might start getting… well, the right idea about us."
Aveline leaned her head back on the wall, words and almost all of her thoughts leaving her as Isabela slung a long dark leg over one of hers, providing pressure as she thrust into Aveline. The most she could manage was a whispered, "No."
"No, we're not telling them? Or… was that-- did you want me to stop?"
Hooking an arm around Isabela's waist, Aveline ran her hand over the woman's bare hip and scooted her closer. Isabela leaned back so her hair hid most of Aveline's face, and she grinned darkly at the pirate.
"I don't think you can," Aveline challenged in a whisper. She felt too good now to care about much else. The steady, thrumming buzz of pleasure swirling under her skin made Aveline relax against Isabela, legs opening wider. Maybe she'd win this little display after all (a few times, if she was lucky.) "In fact, I dare you. Our friends just there-" Aveline nuzzled her neck- "me, here-" she sighed breathily- "I don't think you can."
If their friends hadn't noticed yet, they wouldn't. It was late, and they all were drunk. In fact, that would be her excuse if anyone asked. That was it. They were drunk… very, very drunk. If anyone noticed anything enough to remember it tomorrow, she'd be surprised. If ever there was a time to prove to Isabela how well she could keep a secret, this was it. The fact that the secret was a relationship neither of them had any real reason (other than personal pride) to keep to themselves, wasn't a point worth making.
"And I don't think you want me to."
"Only one way to find out."